EVENT ENDED

Mueller testimony: Live updates from the congressional hearing

The former special counsel testified before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees about the findings of his nearly two-year investigation.
Image: Robert Mueller testifies during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in 2013.
Robert Mueller testifies during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in 2013.Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images file

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Thanks for following our live coverage on Wednesday of former special counsel Robert Mueller's testimony before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees about his report into Russian election interference and President Donald Trump.

Read more of our coverage below:

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Live Blog

Who is Aaron Zebley, the top Mueller aide appearing with him?

The man accompanying Mueller today is Aaron Zebley, a longtime Mueller aide. He was deputy special counsel during the Russia investigation, and will counsel Mueller during his appearance before the House Judiciary Committee. He will not be sworn in for this first hearing. 

Before working on the 22-month special counsel investigation, Zebley worked in private practice with Mueller where he represented a Clinton aide who helped former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton set up a private email server.

Prior to that, Zebley spent years working for the U.S. Department of Justice, in roles ranging from an assistant U.S. attorney in Virginia to a counterterrorism FBI agent.

He worked as Mueller's chief of staff when Mueller served as the FBI director, and Zebley investigated the Pentagon attack after 9/11. He was notably a key agent in the case against Zacarias Moussaoui, who was part of the 9/11 conspiracy. Before that, he worked for seven years as an FBI counter terrorism agent. He investigated the 1998 Al Qaeda embassy bombings in Africa and was credited with securing a confession from one of the bombers.

Protester interrupts start of hearing

As he made his way to his seat, Mueller shook hands with several Democratic Judiciary Committee members along the aisle. Just before Nadler gaveled in, a man began shouting: “Kushner and Manafort downloaded encrypted apps on the day of the Trump Tower meeting!” The man repeated that several times until he was quickly and forcibly removed. 

Nadler gives opening statement

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., began the hearing by reading his opening statement.

"The President’s behavior included, and I quote from your report, "public attacks on the investigation, non-public efforts to control it, and efforts in both public and private to encourage witnesses not to cooperate," he said.

"Director Mueller, we have a responsibility to address the evidence you have uncovered. You recognized as much when you said 'the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.'"

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler arrives for Robert Mueller's testimony on Capitol Hill on July 24, 2019.Andrew Harnik / AP

Legal expert Neal Katyal lays out what he thinks Congress should ask Mueller

Among the questions for Mueller: Why wasn't Donald Trump Jr. interviewed?

Mueller is likely to face questions about one of the lingering mysteries in his report when he testifies before Congress on Wednesday: Why was Donald Trump Jr. the only American attendee of the infamous Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 not questioned by investigators?

Mueller’s report, released in April, states only that President Trump’s eldest son “declined to be voluntarily interviewed by the Office.” But the next two lines in the report are redacted because they contain grand jury information.

Dems want Mueller to tell swing voters what Trump did wrong

While America's political class has been obsessively following the two-year investigation into Russia's efforts to help Trump win the presidency, most of the country has not.

Democrats are hoping to disrupt that dynamic by questioning Mueller in five hours of televised public hearings before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees.

They say they intend to guide the former FBI director into presenting a movie version of his dense and lawyerly tome, bringing to life what they consider a deeply disturbing story of a president who welcomed help from a foreign adversary and then tried mightily to cover it up.

Fact check: Trump claims Mueller was 'highly conflicted'

In a Wednesday morning tweetstorm, the president repeated his accusation that Mueller was "highly conflicted." But the Department of Justice and Trump's own aides found this claim to be baseless.

Ahead of Mueller’s appointment as special counsel, DOJ ethics officials considered potential conflicts of interest — namely that Mueller had previously worked with a law firm that represented Trump affiliates who could be caught up in the investigation — and cleared him for service

Mueller’s report notes that Trump complained that Mueller had disputed certain fees related to his membership at a Trump golf course in Virginia in 2011, and had interviewed for the FBI director job shortly before his appointment as special counsel. But Trump’s own White House aides — Reince Priebus, Stephen Bannon, and counsel Don McGahn — all told the special counsel’s office that they had told the president these were not true conflicts of interest. 

"The President's advisors pushed back on his assertion of conflicts, telling the President they did not count as true conflicts. Bannon recalled telling the President that the purported conflicts were 'ridiculous' and that none of them was real or could come close to justifying precluding Mueller from serving as Special Counsel," the report says. 

Trump kicks off Mueller day with early morning rant

The president fumed on Twitter over the news that a member of Mueller's team would sit alongside him during congressional testimony. He also lashed out at Democrats and questioned why Mueller didn't investigate himself.

How much did Mueller's investigation cost? Millions

The special counsel's office has incurred direct and indirect costs totaling $25.2 million through Sept. 30, 2018, according to expenditure reports.

At a rate of roughly $1.5 million per month, the investigation may top $35 million when the final costs are tallied. 

Mueller, Trump's silent foil, gets ready to talk

Since he was first appointed special counsel, Mueller has been a unique foil for Trump — the kind who doesn't clap back on Twitter, issue press releases in his own defense or go on television to accuse the president of committing crimes.

That may or may not change Wednesday, when Mueller testifies before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees about the findings of his report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, contacts between Russia and the Trump campaign, and evidence of possible obstruction of justice by the president.

Mueller arrives on Capitol Hill

Mueller arrived on the Hill shortly before 8 a.m. on Wednesday.

The first of the two hearings, with the House Judiciary Committee, will begin around 8:30 a.m.

Robert Mueller arrives to testify on Capitol Hill on July 24, 2019.Susan Walsh / AP